Jurors in Davis County murder trial recess for the night

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FARMINGTON -- Ed Owens is charged with the 1980 murder of Karin Strom, but jurors won't have a verdict on his case until at least Wednesday. They have adjourned for the evening and are expected to be back at work by 8:30 a.m.

Strom was found strangled to death in her Woods Cross home. Her family described the past 29 years as climbing a mountain, and now they say they are at the top. They're hopeful for a guilty verdict.

The jury had been deliberating since about 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. In the morning, they heard closing arguments.

Prosecutors told jurors Owens told a friend that he saw Strom the night she was murdered and got into an argument with her because he wanted to break off their relationship. They say he told another person that he killed her.

The day after the murder, co-workers noticed scratches on Owens' face and hands.

According to prosecutors, when a detective called Owens in 2006 saying that the case was going to be reopened, Owens left Utah and left his wife what appeared to be a suicide note.

DNA has been the focus of this reopened case. Owens' DNA was found under Strom's nails and on her underwear.

Strom's stepmother says based on that DNA, Owens is guilty. "I feel sorry for his family, but I think he needs to pay for the deed he did. No deed should go unpunished, and this is one of them," said Melba Saltzgiver.

Owens' attorney, on the other hand, says the his client's DNA does not prove that he murdered Strom, only that he and Strom were having an affair.

The attorney says that DNA tests showed the presence of two other donors police never followed up on. He also attacked the original police investigation of 1980, pointing out that some evidence was not collected from the crime scene and only a few items were tested.

Strom's husband, Steven Strom, was a suspect in this case for many years. He was actually arrested once, but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Friends and family hope that finally this will clear his name.


Story compiled with contributions from Whit Johnson and Sandra Yi.

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